The Pentagon is providing an additional $1.1 billion in aid to Ukraine, bringing the total U.S. military assistance to nearly $17 billion since the Biden administration took office.
The latest package includes funding for 18 more High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, or HIMARS, and their ammunition, weapons that U.S. defense officials say have proven highly effective in helping Ukraine defend its territory since Russia invaded the country in February.
The U.S. has already provided Ukraine with 16 HIMARS, and a senior defense official told reporters Wednesday that the Biden administration was starting the procurement process for the next 18 because they would take "years" to procure, build and deliver.
The latest package funds the procurement of weapons and equipment under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, which funds contracts focused on Ukraine's long-term defense and security needs.
Other weapons and equipment in the $1.1 billion package will take anywhere from two months to two years to deliver to Ukraine, according to the senior defense official. Those include systems to counter drones that Russia has been using against Ukrainian troops, 22 radars, about 150 Humvees, about 150 tactical vehicles for towing weapons, dozens of trucks and trailers, body armor, and equipment for communications, surveillance, and explosives disposal.
Maintenance and training are also funded in this package.
Russian forces have used Iranian-made drones to target Ukrainian forces, according to the Pentagon, prompting a need to counter these weapons.
The Pentagon has used its presidential drawdown authority to provide weapons more rapidly, and officials say another announcement for Defense Department aid is expected soon.
Also Wednesday, a senior military official] said the U.S. has seen "small numbers" of the first reservists from Russia's latest mobilization move into Ukraine. Russia has announced plans to call up about 300,000 men to fight in Ukraine amid heavy battlefield losses.
Tens of thousands of Russian men have fled the country to border nations since the mobilization was announced.